“There’s a popular cliché that maybe craziness and creativity are allied, [that] if you’re schizophrenic, you’re more likely to be a genius inventor. That’s actually not the case. Schizophrenia, there’s no correlation with creativity. Instead, it’s really about depression and particularly bipolar depression. The leading hypothesis grows out of research showing states of being unhappy, being gloomy — when you’re sad you’re actually better able to focus.
“So people who are sad actually produce better artwork in the lab, better collages. Some studies indicate successful people are something like 25 times more likely to suffer from bipolar depression; it captures the natural swings of the creative process. Sometimes you want to be manic and have tons of new ideas, but then you also seem to benefit from a slightly sad, more melancholy phase.”